There are so many wacky, upside-down paradoxes when it comes to North Korea that it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. But at the end of another crazy week of hints and whispers of Hermit Kingdom news, this Saturday morning it’s actually relatively easy. The operative words are: Supreme. Soap. Opera.
While the steady stream of South Korean soapers being smuggled into the North provides the latter country’s oppressed residents with hints of what lies beyond the border, it’s too bad they can’t tune in to the melodrama being played out by their Dear Leader and sons. It would be hard to make up scenarios as entertaining as the ones being alleged by the South Korean press.
Imagine for a moment, unfolding in slightly grainy, overly saturated hues, the following episodic scenes from… The Jong and the Restless:
– Hawaiian shirt wearing playboy Kim Jong-nam, leaving his wife, mistress and poker chips behind, bursts into dad’s hotel room in China. “Papa, how can you give the country over to Kim Jong-un?! He blew up the Cheonan without telling you… He changed the currency… Papa, I do NOT understand…” [Cue back-and-forth earnest close-ups]
– An unnamed, sullen Chinese official pulls his Mercedes over onto a Macau side-street and barks angrily into his cell phone. “I don’t care how many Swiss bank account transfers they’re offering. We will not let the Too-Young General and his cronies do anything to Kim Jong-nam on Chinese soil. And that’s final!” [Cue hang-up and earnest, frowning close-up]
– A North Korean lecture official points proudly to a display of damaged lamps and bottles: “And so, just to summarize, when he was three-years-old, Kim Jong-un used his automatic rifle to fire three shots per second and hit ALL of these targets from 100 meters away.” [Cue semi-earnest audience member close-ups].
I could go on, but you get the idea. Really, at this point, the only debate is whether there is a more suitable name for the North Korean dynastic drama than the one I have proposed above. Among the (many) other possibilities are My Three Sons, Young General Hospital and As the Peninsula Turns.